CAMP AS SAYLIYAH, QATAR --
The 578th Brigade Engineer Battalion, currently assigned to Area Support Group Qatar (ASG-QA), joined their Qatar Central General Depot (CGD) counterparts for a weapons familiarization range at the Qatar Special Forces Range Compound and the Al Ghalail training area, from September 09, 2018 to September 12, 2018.
The multi-day event covered various weapon systems, from handguns and rifles to machine guns mounted on technical trucks and armored personnel carriers. Each day began with a safety demonstration, where the Qatari range staff discussed handling the weapons.
Although the weapon systems were different than the weapons the U.S. Soldiers were used to firing, they adapted well. U.S. unit leaders shot first and then assisted the Qatari range safeties in helping relay commands to the U.S. Soldiers. For many of the Soldiers, it was their first time firing weapons from a mount on a technical truck.
“Conducting small events that highlight similarities between our countries’ forces, like marksmanship, help connect us even through language barriers,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Ngo, 578th BEB operations NCO. "It's very helpful seeing another perspective, such as how other nations conduct operations that we also commonly do ourselves."
The event was coordinated by officers from the Qatar CGD and the ASG-QA SECFOR as a continuation of interoperability training conducted in the past by previous rotational units. In March 2018, the Qatar CGD joined Charlie Battery, 1-143d Field Artillery Battalion at a US-led range where Qatari soldiers conducted weapons familiarization lanes on U.S. weapons. Combined training that develops relationships and builds mutual respect is an important part of the SECFOR mission, due to shared responsibilities with security forces from the Qatar CGD base in close proximity to Camp As Sayliyah.